A Baloch woman leader and rights activist has accused Pakistan of “genocide” in Balochistan and says India must support the “freedom movement” in the restive province for its own “strategic interests” as an “antidote for the Pakistan-China anti-India coalition”.
Naela Quadri, 50, said she was here to make a “conscience awakening call” to the government and people of India who helped liberate East Pakistan from Islamabad in 1971 to help it become an independent Bangladesh.
“It is not only for us. An independent Balochistan is the only antidote for Pakistan-China anti-India coalition,” Quadri, a Harvard graduate and a champion of Baloch rights, told IANS in an interview.
The Balochistan Independence Movement leader made a passionate plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get involved in the “freedom movement” of the sprawling western region which borders Iran and Afghanistan.
“India has to take a stand, not only against gross human rights violations in the neighbourhood but also because its strategic interests are involved,” said Quadri, who also heads the World Baloch Women’s Forum and campaigns for Baloch people’s rights worldwide. She was once jailed in Pakistan.
Pakistan has been accusing India of stoking trouble in Balochistan, which is the size of France and is rich in gas, gold and copper reserves. It is also home to massive untapped sources of oil and uranium. Angry over Pakistan’s exploitation of the resources and alleged repressive rule, Balochis have so far launched five armed insurgencies since the territory, a princely state under the British, was annexed by Islamabad in 1948.
She accused Pakistan of resorting to “genocide” in Balochistan in response to the “political, democratic and secular” freedom struggle.
“They have killed some 200,000 Balochis in the last decade. The Pakistan Army has participated in enforced disappearance of 25,000 people including men and women,” she said.
“They are using all the eight UN indicators of genocide including dehumanization, polarization, extermination and denial.”
Recalling the May 28, 1998 Pakistan nuclear tests, Quadri said the army “illegally” used Balochistan for testing its atomic weapons that it got from China. “They have hid the weapons in Balochistan.
“The Balochs are facing all this in isolation and loneliness. No country has come to our help. Not India, so far.
“India is not what it was in 1971 (when Bangladesh was liberated). You had a strong headed and brave leader in Indira Gandhi. She was determined and had a tough foreign policy to deal with Pakistan.
“Unfortunately, the case is different now.”
She hoped that Prime Minister Modi would come off “as strong as Gandhi” to help Balochistan win its freedom.
“Modi has a popular mandate and I am sure Indian people would support the Balochistan initiative,” said Quadri, an activist since her childhood. (IANS)
(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Both China and India started building their national education systems under comparable conditions in the late 1940s. Different policies and historical circumstances have, however, led them to different educational outcomes, with China outperforming India not just in terms of its percentage of literate population and enrollment rates at all levels of education, but also in terms of number of world-class institutions in higher education, and greater research output.
The roots of China’s successful education system date back to the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which unintentionally expanded access to the primary education through democratising the schooling system, which was previously elitist in character, thus addressing the problem of mass illiteracy.
In contrast, India continued to focus on its higher education system since independence and only realised the importance of basic education in 1986, keeping it behind China and many other countries in Asia in educational development. In terms of enrollment, China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.
In terms of secondary school enrollment, India and China both started at the similar rates in 1985, with about 40 percent of their population enrolled in secondary schools. However, due to a wider base of primary school students, the rate of increase in China has been much faster than in India, with 99 percent secondary enrollment rate in China and 79 percent in India in 2017.
India is closing in on the Chinese rate in terms of access to education, but on the literacy level front, there is a huge gap in the percentage of literate populations in the two countries. In the age group of 15-24 years, India scores 104th rank on literacy and numeracy indicator, compared to China’s 40th rank.
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses after every three years the domain knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, science and finance, revealed that students in China performed above the OECD average in 2015. Moreover, one in four students in China are top performers in mathematics, having an ability to formulate complex situations mathematically. Further, China outperforms all the other participating countries in financial literacy, by having a high ability to analyse complex finance products. For India, the comparable data is not available as it was not a participating country in PISA 2015.
However, in India, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 provides data for rural youth, aged 14-18, with respect to their abilities to lead productive lives as adults. According to this survey, only about half of the 14-year-old children in the sample could read English sentences, and more than half of the students surveyed could not do basic arithmetic operations, like division. For basic financial calculations, such as managing a budget or making a purchase decision, less than two-thirds could do the correct calculations.
With regard to the higher education system, both India and China dominate the number of tertiary degree holders because of their large population size, but when it comes to the percentage of the population holding tertiary degrees, only about 10 per cent and 8 per cent of the population possess university degrees in China and India, respectively. By contrast, in Japan, almost 50 per cent of the population holds a tertiary degree, and in the United States, 31 per cent of the population hold a tertiary degree.
In terms of the international recognition of universities, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking for 2019 places seven of the China’s universities in the top 200, compared to none for India. The global university rankings, which are based on various performance metrices, pertaining to teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industrial income, shows progress for several of China’s low-ranked universities, largely driven by improvements in its citations.
In fact, the Tsinghua University has overtaken the National University of Singapore (NUS) to become the best university in Asia due to improvements in its citations, institutional income and increased share of international staff, students and co-authored publications.
While India has progressed in terms of massification of education, there is still a lot which needs to be done when it comes to catching up with the China’s educational outcomes. China’s early start in strengthening its primary and secondary education systems has given it an edge over India in terms of higher education. Moreover, Chinese government strategies are designed in line with the criterion used in major world university rankings, especially emphasis is on the two factors which weigh heavily in the rankings — publications and international students.
The relentless publications drive, which is very evident in China, is weak in India and has led to a growing gap in the number of publications contributed by the two countries. Further, China enrolled about 292,611 foreign students in 2011 from 194 countries, while India currently only has 46,144 foreign students enrolled in its higher education institutions, coming from 166 countries. The large number of international enrollments in China is a reflection of its state policies granting high scholarships to foreign students.
To catch up with China, India needs to lay emphasis on improving its educational outcomes. Massification drive for education has helped India raise its student enrollments, but a lot needs to be done when it comes to global recognition for its universities. Further, it needs to focus on building the foundation skills which are acquired by students at the school age, poor fundamental skills flow through the student life, affecting adversely the quality of education system. (IANS)